By Asher Notheis | The Washington Examiner
The unclassified U.S. intelligence document shows Russian forces massing in four locations. The U.S. map puts the number of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border at 70,000, but it predicts a buildup to as many as 175,000. The map also describes extensive movement of battalion tactical groups to and from the border “to obfuscate intentions and to create uncertainty,” according to the Washington Post .
“The Russian plans call for a military offensive against Ukraine as soon as early 2022 with a scale of forces twice what we saw this past spring during Russia’s snap exercise near Ukraine’s borders,” an unidentified administration official told the outlet. “The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery and equipment.”
The U.S. Intelligence's warning of Russia's offensive against Ukraine comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday he wants a deal to block the expansion of NATO . Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov implied that Russia has a right to take military action if Ukraine moves too close to the United States and other Western powers.
President Joe Biden told reporters on Friday he is compiling a “meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do.” He also said he was in “constant contact” with allies and Ukrainian leaders amid concerns of threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Vladimir Putin Continues to Press West’s Buttons with Ukraine Troop Movements
By Andrew West | Flag And Cross
The former KGB man has long appeared interested in reuniting portions of the former Soviet Union, and by force. This has, of course, raised eyebrows around the globe, and this week was no different.
Satellite imagery obtained by Fox News on Sunday highlights several locations within western Russia, as well as one location in Crimea, where Russian tactical battle groups containing troops and equipment have been deployed.
“The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery and equipment,” a Biden administration official told Fox News.
The US won’t be sitting idly by.
Biden said he plans to have a “long discussion” with Putin on Tuesday and outline a “meaningful set of initiatives” that will make it “very, very difficult,” for Russia to invade Ukraine.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday the administration is prepared to impose “high impact economic measures that we’ve refrained from using in the past” if Russia fails to deescalate or moves forward with any plans to invade Ukraine.
Putin has made a habit of rebuking such moves by the international community, and specifically the US, lending little hope to the idea that Biden’s conversation on Tuesday will dissuade the Russian strongman.
Biden’s Only Honorable Course on Ukraine and Russia
By Walter Russell Mead | The Wall Street Journal
As President Biden tries to prevent a Russian attack on Ukraine, his administration continues to wrestle with a world that has refused to conform to its expectations. Russia is not parked. Iran is not cooperating. China—whose activities around Taiwan, as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned last week, look “like rehearsals” for more-serious aggression—has neither engaged with the Biden administration on common issues like climate nor been impressed by Washington’s get-tough policy.
Driving Vladimir Putin’s military buildup is the Kremlin’s conviction that
time is not on its side. Largely because of Ukrainian bitterness at Mr.
Putin’s 2014 invasion and the continuing war in the country’s southeastern
region known as the Donbass, more Ukrainians are determined to escape what they
see as Moscow’s suffocating embrace. Gradual changes in the civil service, the
judiciary, the intelligence services and the educational system, implemented
with Western encouragement and help, are quietly but steadily pushing Ukraine
away from post-Soviet Russia and anchoring it more firmly in the West.
For Mr. Putin and the Russian nationalists whose support he needs, the consolidation of genuine Ukrainian independence is a threat. Russia needs Ukraine, they believe, to dominate the Black Sea, re-establish itself as the principal power in Europe, and defend the Orthodox and Slavic character of the Russian Federation itself at a time of rapid demographic change. A Ukraine aligned with the West, and especially with anti-Russian countries like Poland and the Baltic republics, is an unbearable humiliation and an unacceptable threat to Russian power.
The world has seen this movie before. In February 2014, Ukraine’s pro-Russia President Victor Yanukovych was overthrown after rejecting an economic association agreement with the European Union and opting for closer economic ties with Russia. His successors signed economic and political agreements with the EU, and the post-revolution constitution commits Ukraine to seek EU membership. The West celebrated the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution as a victory for freedom; in retaliation Mr. Putin seized Crimea and invaded the Donbass.
Mr. Putin’s new bellicosity is an admission of Russian failure. Sweet talk about Russo-Ukrainian brotherhood has failed to persuade Ukraine to throw in its lot with Moscow. All that is left is economic pressure and military force. Yet if the political situation inside Ukraine alarms Mr. Putin, the West’s disarray and ineptitude give him hope. In 2014 the West contented itself with economic sanctions and stern lectures when Mr. Putin annexed Crimea and launched an ugly war in the Donbass. America looks weaker and Europe more divided today than in 2014. Mr. Putin likely believes that fumbling Western leaders will be no more capable of stopping Russian aggression now than at any time since his 2008 invasion of Georgia.
President Biden seems committed to a so-called peaceful-measures-only approach. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned of “high-impact sanctions,” and other administration officials have spoken of increased military aid to Ukraine. This sounds robust, but one of Mr. Putin’s favorite diplomatic strategies is to tempt American officials into pompous declarations and then humiliate them by exposing the hollow nature of their pretentious rhetoric. He ran this play repeatedly against the Obama administration, most spectacularly when President Obama told the United Nations General Assembly that Bashar al-Assad must leave power in Syria and Mr. Putin rallied to Mr. Assad’s defense, significantly undermining American power and prestige. He would like nothing better than to fillet Team Biden with the same knife.
Mr. Biden needs to reach a clear decision. If he is committed to helping Ukraine integrate with the West, he will have to convince Mr. Putin that he means business, possibly leading to the dispatch of significant NATO forces to the country. If he does not think Ukraine is worth the risk of a Cold War-style crisis with Russia, he must seek the most dignified retreat Mr. Putin will allow.
Neither course is attractive. Taking a hard line brings the risk of escalation. Many Americans will oppose another open-ended commitment, and Russian enmity for the U.S. will intensify.
Coming so soon after the Afghan meltdown and at a time when many longtime allies doubt America’s word, retreat would be even worse. Russia would become more powerful and more contemptuous of the U.S., while Iran and China will view Mr. Biden as a loser and adjust their policies accordingly.
From a position of strength, the U.S. can and should offer Russia face-saving ways out of the crisis, but on substance Mr. Biden should stand firm. The reality is that Russia has lost its battle for the heart of Ukraine. After encouraging Ukraine to cast its lot with the West for three decades, America’s only honorable course is to sustain Kyiv in this hour of trial.
Voters Abandon Radical Democrats
By Andrew West | The Schaftlein Report | Flag And Cross
1) By 54-46%, voters say Biden is responsible for the
Division in the country. Voters feel Biden and his Party are the
a) Horribly Incompetent
b) Deeply Divisive
c) Controlled by the Radical Left
2) Voters care about the following: Inflation, Covid, Crime, Illegal Immigration, Drugs, Indoctrination in Schools
3) Federal Reserve Chairman Powell acknowledges Inflation is stickier than expected and the need to taper bond Purchases may need to accelerate due to:
a) Record High Asset Prices, Unemployment at 4.6% but the Labor Participation Rate is unchanged while 9-10M jobs remain open
b) The risk of Inflation being persistent has risen
4) Federal Judge strikes down Vaccine mandate for
5) Judge reinstates Remain-in-Mexico Policy – Biden and
Mayorkis appeal the decision – STUPID and INCOMPETENT
6) Smollett case – Lawyer tries to rewrite history claiming he is the victim after he did the hoax
VP Harris – “A Sinking Ship”
By Andrew West | The Schaftlein Report | Flag And Cross
1) Senator Bob Dole dies at 98 – A GREAT American Patriot
2) VP Harris Staff leaving due to Poor Leadership and a
Toxic Work Environment – “A sinking ship”
3) Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain complains that Press
Coverage of Biden is too negative – Laughable!
4) Economic News:
a) Job growth of 210K was well below estimates of 550K
b) However the unemployment rate fell to 4.2%
c) Labor Force Participation Rate remained steady at 61.8% while those aged 24-54 work rate was 78.8%
5) Wage growth was 4.8% while Inflation is running at 6% – this eats away at the gains
6) We are still 3.9M workers below when the pandemic
7) Former Senator David Perdue to run against Governor
Brian Kemp in the Republican Primary in Georgia
8) NYC – Vaccine Mandate for Private Companies?
9) Omicron now in 17 states
10) $1.75T climate and Social Spending bill likely not to
be voted on until January – Issues with SALT, Immigration and CBO Score
11) 64% of Democrats view Socialism favorably – Only 14%
of Republicans – Both still approve of Capitalism by a wide margin and have
over the past decade
12) NRCC expands list of Democrats targeted in 2022 to 70! Wow!
Kamala Staffers Say She’s Is A Mean, Morale-Destroying Bully As A Boss
By Jeff Dunetz | The Lid
Gee Whiz, Joe Biden didn’t need another reason for people to trash the job he’s doing, but apparently, it started with his first decision as a nominee—Kama Harris. In ten short months, the words have changed from “Call it the Biden-Harris administration” to “will the last person quitting their job working for the Vice President, please shut the lights.” Recently the parade of people leaving Harris’ employ seems as big as the parade of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border that the V.P. was supposed to fix.
This past weekend Politico reported that “key members of Harris’ orbit are leaving and even more are eyeing the exits.”
On June 30, 2021, Politico reported that the V.P.’s office was dysfunctional:
Her presidential campaign operation imploded in a painful maze of finger-pointing and leaks. Harris jettisoned nearly everyone from that campaign and returned to the Senate in 2020 with her government staff and a small outside political operation in tow. When she was put on the presidential ticket, she was given a staff of mostly handpicked, trusted aides from Bidenworld. It did the job. The team avoided the spiral of internal backbiting.
(…)The morale level for current Harris staffers is “rough” and in many ways similar to the failed presidential campaign and her Senate office, according to the former Senate aide, who is in touch with current Harris staffers.
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” said another person with direct knowledge of how Harris’ office is run. “It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s—.”
Five months after the Politico story, the very liberal Washington Post published its report on Harris’ management skills based on interviews with 18 people connected to Harris:
Critics scattered over two decades point to an inconsistent and at times degrading principal who burns through seasoned staff members who have succeeded in other demanding, high-profile positions. People used to putting aside missteps, sacrificing sleep and enduring the occasional tirade from an irate boss say doing so under Harris can be particularly difficult, as she has struggled to make progress on her vice-presidential portfolio or measure up to the potential that has many pegging her as the future of the Democratic Party.
Gil Duran, a former Democratic strategist, and aide to Harris who quit after five months working for her in 2013. In a recent column [for the San Francisco Examiner]he said she’s repeating “the same old destructive patterns. “Who are the next talented people you’re going to bring in and burn through and then have (them) pretend they’re retiring for positive reasons,” he told The Post.
The Post story also reported
Staffers who worked for Harris before she was vice president said one consistent problem was that Harris would refuse to wade into briefing materials prepared by staff members, then berate employees when she appeared unprepared.
“It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work. With Kamala you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why.”
The latest departure from Harris’ office is Symone Sanders, the V.P.’s chief spokesman and advisor announced she was leaving by the end of the year. Her announcement came three weeks after the White House announced that Harris’ communications director, Ashley Etienne, was leaving to pursue other opportunities. Notice that announcement came from the White House, not Etienne. Sanders says it has nothing to do with Kamala Harris. She just wanted to move on to different opportunities.
A former top Biden aide, Anita Dunn, praised Sanders in a CNN interview, saying she was “an extraordinary talent.”
“Symone has been working at the highest levels and in an extraordinarily intense environment for three years for Joe Biden. And now also for Vice President Harris,” Dunn said. “When you look at the three years, two on the campaign, one in the White House, nobody can question her decision that she needs a break and it’s time to move on. And she’ll always be a member of the Biden-Harris family.”
If you believe Sanders left because she needed a break, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Symone Sanders had risen quickly in her seven years in politics. She gained a job with the V.P., the second-most powerful office in the country, in an incredibly important position. Her next step would be to work for the President, not to leave the administration totally.
Politico and WAPO each explain that Kamala Harris is a mean morale-destroying bully as a boss. And I would suggest that the way Kamal Harris acts as a manager has more to do with Sanders’ exit than wanting a break.
In my three decades working in corporate America, I learned that bosses who managed the same way Harris is reported to act, directed that way because their jobs were way over their heads. In other words, as bad as Joe Biden is as the Chief Executive of the U.S. (and he is awful), Kamala Harris would probably be much worse.